Winter of Zombie Tour 2014 with Mark Tufo

Winter of Zombie Tour 2014

The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November. 

Mark Tufo is no stranger to TripThroughMyMind. He was one of the first authors to be reviewed with his book series, Zombie Fallout. He was one of my first interviews with an author. Even Rhyanna, of Rhyanna’s Reads did a review of his YA book here. Now, he is back to be the first sneak peak of a release with a sample of his upcoming book as a stop on the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 with an excerpt from his new book Lycan Fallout 2 which will be release this December. Let’s take a moment for this rare sample of an upcoming book here on TTMM. Thank you Mark Tufo for coming and visiting.


by Mark Tufo

Chapter One – Mike Journal Entry 1

Oggie went just about nuts jumping up and down on me as I walked back on shore. Maybe he knew just how close I’d been to saying, “fuck it.” I got down on my knees and grabbed Augustine “Oggie” Purpose’s massive head in my hands. I pressed my face close to his and wept for Tommy. The boy had been a major guiding force for the majority of my life, really all of my life if I thought back on all he’d said. Even Oggie here had been a gift from him to get me moving off my ass and rejoin a humanity that I’d had no desire to see again. Oggie let me drench his face in tears that seemed of endless supply before he licked mine, I guess to return the favor.

Bailey seemed unruffled, as I stood completely naked. She had started a small fire in my absence.

“You will need clothes if you wish to hunt Lycan,” she said as she tended to the flame.

“And what of you, Bailey?”

“It is my place, much like BT, to be by your side.”

“If you remember correctly, that didn’t work out too particularly well for him.”

Bailey looked at me queerly. “He lived a long life, surrounded by family and loved ones, and he had an incredible tale to tell his children and then their children. Would you deny me that?” she asked.

“I would not.”

“When do we start then?”

“I suppose we already have,” I told her.

“You are probably going to want this then.” She handed me my sword, the one Azile had forced from my hand before I could kill any more. I was thankful she had cleaned it up before giving it back.

“Yeah, it would have been a bit more difficult without this. Thank you.”

She nodded.

My clothes were a total loss. The parts that were not shredded were so covered in a thick layer of viscera as to be unrecognizable. Naked was one thing, barefoot was another. I grabbed my boots and headed back towards the water, this time Oggie made sure to stay right at my side. I was fairly convinced he would bite me if I attempted to go any further into the lake other than the shoreline. He watched as I scraped off all manner of biological matter with the flat side of a rock that would have been perfect for skipping had I been in a more agreeable mood. As it was I was close to two hundred years old and lost damn near all that was dear to me. I had Oggie, that was it. Was that enough to do what needed to be done? Was the hate I felt for Lycan due to Tommy’s death enough? Bailey and I had an alliance but that was more out of necessity and obligation rather than regard and respect (on her part anyway).

Azile the Red Witch. What did I feel for her? Desire? Betrayal? It was complicated like every damn relationship I’d had with a woman. If I cared to think on it, it amazed me that men and women could even procreate. We are almost as different a species as dogs were to cats. I looked at my boots. They would never come completely clean—they would always be stained much like my soul. I snorted. “If I had one,” I said sourly. “At least they’re serviceable,” I said as I held them out to the waning sunlight. Again much like my soul.” I half-laughed again. Oggie visibly relaxed as I stepped away from the lake and went back to the fire. Bailey had pulled up some logs she had found for us to sit on. I noticed there were two and they were on opposite sides of the fire.

Had I been in a better mood I would have sat on the same log with her, just to gauge her reaction. I placed my boots as close to the fire as I could without melting them. I could deal with the nudity well enough; it was something about the possibility of stepping on thorns or some ancient discarded rusty nails that bothered me to no end. Maybe I could fashion a banana hammock for my other delicates.

“How are your wounds?” Bailey asked after a moment.

I grunted. My body was crisscrossed with deep puncture wounds, scrapes, cuts, welts and bruises. I was pretty sure I had a broken rib or two as well. I looked like I’d been tossed in an industrial dryer with bowling balls and broken bottles. I’d taken the old saying, “death by a thousand cuts” a little too literally.

“I have an extra tunic. Would you care for it?” Bailey asked.

I’m sure she wasn’t appreciative of the view. I was sitting on the log she’d provided, my knees were apart and I had a hand on each of them as I stared deeply into the fire waiting for it to yield answers it did not possess. The oncoming chill did not affect me, nor did the nakedness. It was a further shedding of my humanity, which would bring me that much closer to my enemy, and by understanding him I would be better prepared to kill him. Ultimately I did not believe I could do it, not without Tommy. He was the strongest and if he could fall then any of us could. I was planning on running in full tilt and killing everything within sight as fast as I could before I yielded as well.

“Michael?” Bailey prodded.

As I looked up, our eyes locked. “Sure.”

She reached into a small pack she had and walked around the fire to hand me the garment.

“You fought valiantly today,” she said as I put on the tunic. Because of Bailey’s size it looked more like a poncho on me.

“And still it wasn’t enough.”

“You saved that town.”

“Let’s get a couple of things straight, Bailey. I didn’t fight for that town. I fought for my friends. I don’t give a fuck about that town. I’d rather it had burned to the ground with every inhabitant in it rather than lose Tommy, Azile or you. If none of you had been here, I would not have been either.”

“What you plan on doing next will help these same towns you despise.”

“Again, I’m not doing this for them.”

“Your friends, then? I do not believe the Red Witch would desire you to be so foolhardy.”

“What I do now I do for me. For maybe the first time in my life I am going to do what I desire and for only my selfish reasons. I will kill Lycan until my revenge is sated or I have died trying.”

“Revenge can never be sated. It is an ever-expanding fire that constantly demands more fuel to burn. Like a wild fire it will consume everything within you.”

“I don’t need a regulator. If you wish to go home I will not attempt to stop you.”

“I am here, is that not enough answer? Our reasons for this quest may be different but we desire the same outcomes.”

I looked long and hard at her. Maybe I was looking for a fight, maybe I wanted to force her away, tough to say. How could I argue with her words though? We both did want the Lycan dead. I would hold up my part and looking at her led me to believe so would she.

Bailey and Oggie went hunting, the sun gone upon their return. I had not moved much other than to put more logs upon the flame.

“Oggie is an incredible rabbit hunter,” Bailey said as she flashed a pouch full of the small animals.

“He didn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart as he fully expects his fill.” I smiled as I scratched behind his ear. Oggie watched diligently as Bailey skinned the rabbits. I fashioned a crude spit and within ten minutes we had meat roasting on an open fire.

Oggie and I shared a meal and by share I mean he ate the vast majority. Somewhere inside of me the machinations were telling me I was hungry but the only part of me that mattered in this regard, namely my stomach, said otherwise. The thought of eating food seemed more of a chore, but Oggie had no such compunction. The night was dark but clear as we were afforded some visibility by the waning moon and the stars. We were now one night removed from the battle. Time was moving on. I knew enough to realize it waited for no woman, man, child or even an Old One. I was staring up the hill to Tommy’s final resting place when Bailey spoke.

“Would you like me to take first watch?” she asked.

“I’ve got it,” I said absently, not looking in her direction.

“There is a greater chance that intruders will not come from the top of that hill.”

I don’t know if she meant it as a jest or a barb, as she honed in on my fixation. She lay down, resting the back of her head against the log, closing her eyes. Within a few moments she was asleep. She was a warrior through and through; only those who fight know how to go to sleep on a moment’s notice. I looked at her for a second to make sure she truly was asleep before I began my vigil on Tommy’s gravesite again. Oggie was sleeping with his legs in the air and was snoring loud enough that I could not have heard if a herd of moose was passing by while they bleated out their mating calls.

The fire had calmed considerably, the night was at its darkest. The witching hour, if one was to believe in that, was upon us when I saw a small, unearthly light emanate from where Tommy was buried. I stood quietly, trying to focus my eyes. Was I hallucinating? It was a strange blue with flickers of red around the edges. Was this Tommy’s soul looking for its body’s final resting spot? Was there some unknown lore even now reanimating Tommy? Was that possible? I sat back down, grabbed my boots, which had thankfully dried. I put them on and moved with as much speed as stealth would allow. I did not want to awake Oggie or Bailey or alert whatever or whoever was up there. And what exactly was I heading for? Would a headless Tommy be up there waiting to exact his revenge upon me for letting him fall in battle?

With each step I expected the light to either dissipate or reveal its true nature. A trick of the light, so to speak. I was within ten feet when the answer was revealed.



Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in November, here’s the complete list, updated daily: Winter of Zombie Schedule


Mark TufoMark Tufo was born in Boston Massachusetts. He attended UMASS Amherst where he obtained a BA and later joined the US Marine Corp. He was stationed in Parris Island SC, Twenty Nine Palms CA and Kaneohe Bay Hawaii. After his tour he went into the Human Resources field with a worldwide financial institution and has gone back to college at CTU to complete his masters.

He has wrote the first installment of the Indian Hill trilogy in college, it sat in his garage until July 2009 when he published it on Kindle. He has since written the Zombie Fallout series and is working on a new zombie book.
He lives in Maine with his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.

Visit him at or or for news on his next two installments of the Indian Hill trilogy and upcoming installments of the Zombie Fallout series.


Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Books, Reader's Retreat, zombies


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Rhyanna’s Reads: A Young Reader’s View- Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion

Ranger Martin and the Alien InvasionDo you remember earlier this year when I put out an article about Jack Flacco’s book RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCACLYPSE? Now I introduce to you RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION. Jack Flacco’s books are special to me because my first revue was on RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCACLYPSE. My suggestion to you is to not read the review and go get the books. Hope you like the books!

This book is one fantastic pile of pages. The book is one of the more exciting stories that I have read. It has action, Rhyanna Reads Book Reviewsdialog, and some funny, silly, and active characters! The main character is Ranger Martin. They encounter aliens and zombies. Group after group of zombies are fought off and made again by the aliens. But who should they encounter? An alien but you have to find out more in the book! The names and characters that make up the group are…Ranger Martin, the zombie killer, that what do you know is still alive (of course). Matty a 15year old found just barely surviving after a horrible thing happened. Jon, Matty’s little know-it-all brother. Finally, Randy who has his own little story to tell .This book is so wild that almost everyone will love and read it!

The character that I chose to write about is Matty! Matty is a funny girl and has a little annoying brother named Jon. She is the one that gets frustrated with Ranger Martin and his ideas.  Even at the end of the world a girl still has feelings and Matty discovers hers. Matty has a funny personality and is not afraid of zombies. If only zombies were the least of her concern.

My other favorite character is Ranger Martin. Ranger is the zombie killer and wants nothing more than to destroy zombies, as you would know from the last book and review. He has come upon some strange animal. No, let me change that. He has come upon some weird thing that they find out is a…

Read the book to find out more! Go and get the book RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION! You can find RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION at book stores October 21st. RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCACLYPSE in stores now. So go and find it at your favorite book store! Thank you for reading.

Ask the Author

Rhyanna’s Reads: My name is Rhyanna and I would like to ask you a few questions for my review on Rhyanna’s Read.

Author, Jack Flacco: Hi Rhyanna, I’m very pleased to meet you!

Rhyanna’s Reads: How were you inspired to write this book?

Author, Jack Flacco: I knew I needed to write a sequel to Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, and I knew it would involve aliens, since, at the time, all I had was the title. I suppose that would have been reason enough for inspiration, but it wasn’t. What excited me most was the desire of wanting to give Ranger an archenemy. That’s what started the ideas flowing. Once I had that clear vision, the story came together very quickly.

Rhyanna’s Reads: Why do you write books for young readers?

Author, Jack Flacco: Having kids of my own, I wanted to write books they could read without my worrying the content wouldn’t be suitable for their impressionable minds. That’s the reason zombies bleed green. I also find young readers have an incredible imagination. If I can impress those young readers with that incredible imagination of theirs, then I know I’ve done a good job to the extent that even the parents would want to read my books.

Rhyanna’s Reads: Do you like being an author?

Author, Jack Flacco: I do, it’s a lot of fun! I meet new people, gain new experiences, and learn new things all the time. When I say to someone that I’ve written a couple of books, they look at me wondering what it would be like to be an author. The thing I like most about being an author is writing every day. I’m excited every morning I wake up. I never know what stories the day will bring.

Rhyanna’s Reads: What makes your characters special to you?

Author, Jack Flacco: Every character I write has a piece of who I am. It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad, they all have something that belongs to me. Ranger has a way of never giving up. Matty cuts through the fog and gets to the point in a matter. Randy is trying to figure things out as he goes along. And Jon sees a connection with everything. I love my characters and sometimes I, too, learn something from them along the way.

Rhyanna’s Reads: Thank you for answering the questions.

Ranger Martin and the Alien InvasionRanger Martin and the Alien Invasion will be available on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Pick up your copy and follow the adventures of Ranger Martin by author Jack Flacco. Visit Jack Flacco at



Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Books, Children, Review, Rhyanna's Reads


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Reader’s Retreat: Meet Jack Flacco

It has been a year since I first met author Jack Flacco. Well, met in a virtual sense. After that meeting, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing his first book title, Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse. Since then, I saw his book introduced to young readers everywhere. With his continuation of the Ranger Martin saga coming out on October 21st, I thought it would be a great time to learn a little more about this inspiring author of the young adult series, Ranger Martin, and his new book in the series:  Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion.

Ranger Marting and the Zombie ApocalypseTripThroughMyMind: A little over a year ago, I was doing research for a themed month. My search lead to an article you posted as part of your Mayhem Monday called Zombie Apocalypse: Causes (May 27, 2013). The more I dug into your site, the more interesting things I found. It was during an early conversation I discovered you were about to release the book Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse and asked to be an ARC reader/reviewer. I have to say, I have been a fan since. For those who may not be familiar with the first Ranger Martin book, could you share a little about the character and the world you have created?

Jack Flacco: Ranger is a former truck driver turned zombie slayer. His main purpose is to eradicate as many of the undead as he possibly can in the short time he has left on this evil Earth. In a world dominated by zombies and aliens, his challenge gets more complicated when a group of kids tags along for the ride.

TTMM: The success of the first book has only been overshadowed by the anticipation for the newest release coming in October 21, 2014, titled Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion. On this site today, we will see a review appearing as a feature on “Rhyanna’s Reads” but can you give an overview of the story?

Ranger Martin and the Alien InvasionJack Flacco: Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion picks up right from where the first book leaves off. Just when Ranger and his rogue band of tagalongs think they had rid the earth of the zombies, a new enemy appears, but this time, not from this planet. Apart from trying to get back home to Arizona, battling the undead, and avoiding military blockades along the way, Ranger also has to keep his group together long enough to win one final war—the war against themselves.

TTMM: I have watched my daughter’s joy as she read the first book and look forward to seeing her take on the second. Speaking of children’s joy in reading, I wanted to share a little something with the readers, which I witnessed. I have a friend who teaches Junior high, seventh and eighth grade in the US, and last year she purchased your book to share with her class. On many days it was a reward for the class for her to read a chapter or two before the end of their class period. She told me of a situation where one of the students, who would not be considered a reader, was inspired by the book to read. Later the child’s parents asked her where they could get the book their child was talking about all the time. It was truly inspirational. I believe you have mentioned on your website that you and your wife do some work with local libraries in your area, can you share a little more about what you do?

Jack Flacco: One of my wife’s friends, who worked with the town’s library advisory board, became familiar with her leadership role in the local home education network. They had asked if she’d be interested in working for the board in order to act as counsel for new book purchases for children and young adults. Of course, she said yes. The work involved keeping abreast with the latest book releases and recommending titles in an effort to promote books deemed appropriate for the described age group.

As for my involvement, we gather used books and provide them as reading material for families in need. Many of the families cannot afford to purchase books themselves, so we gift the necessary books as a way for them to enjoy the world of literature regardless of the cost.

TTMM: Sharing the ability and virtues of reading is something that is important to me as well. To learn of your work, is an inspiration. Now, I want to switch focus to your website, you share a piece of yourself in each of the articles posted on The week starts with Monday Mayhem, which is usually related to zombies and more recently, the theme of your new book—aliens. Then there is Women Who Wow Wednesday where the focus is on strong female characters in film and literature. Finally, you wrap the week up with Freedom Friday where anything goes from recipes to a family vacation. How has your family influenced the characters in your stories?

Jack Flacco: All my characters really are a product of my overactive imagination. My family and friends are nowhere in my books. That’s not to say I haven’t woven lessons learned based on real events in my life. If I didn’t draw on my own experiences then I might as well pack it in as an author. The characters appear in the story out of necessity. If I need an antagonist, I’ll create the character right on the spot, and I’ll allow it the liberty to surprise me. When I was writing the first chapter of the first book in the series, it felt as if I was taking dictation notes. Ranger Martin’s character was clear, his mission focused, and I didn’t have any trouble laying out the scene as it played out in my head. Same thing goes for Matty and all the other characters. They all come as a package deal I get to open as I’m writing the story.

TTMM: That gives some insight into my next question. I wanted to take a moment to ask a question I have wanted to ask for some time. With this website and my other projects, I get a chance to discuss different writing processes and rituals. Some writers have specific times in which they write or a brand of pencil they use to write. I have always wondered—do you have a unique ritual when writing?

Jack Flacco: I used to have a ritual that entailed writing with pen and paper, then transcribe the text to my laptop. Nowadays, I write with anything in my hand. I’m not particular with the method I use. If something grabs my attention, I’ll quickly capture it before the idea disappears. I wrote the entire second chapter of Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion on my phone while heading into the city for a meeting. One thing, though, I do without fail is writing on a schedule. No matter how easy or tough a day is, I stick to the writing plan for that day. I don’t allow the day to dictate what I accomplish. I only see the result of my hard work at the end of the day that keeps me pressing forward, ignoring everything else that may get in the way.

TTMM: One final question for you today. I have wanted a chance to meet you in person. Do you have plans for a promotional tour or appearance? If so, where might we see Jack Flacco?

Jack Flacco: It’s in the works, Jerry. I wish I could elaborate, but unfortunately, I can’t. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be seeing me soon.

TTMM: Thank you for your time and we are definitely looking forward to hearing more about what you have coming. The new book, Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion is available Tuesday, October 21, 2014.


Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion“In a cold cemetery just outside American Fork, Utah, zombie slayer Ranger Martin sets his trap, four gas drums strung together and the barrel of his shotgun acting as the fuse. The undead crowd erupts in a blaze of body parts. If only all of Ranger’s enemies would die this way. What Ranger doesn’t know is his greatest foe may not be a hungry horde after all, but a vicious fiend bent on destroying the planet.

They came from the sky. No one knew what to call them. By that time, it was too late. The dreaded lights from their ships plunged the world into darkness and everyone from Oregon to Virginia had disappeared. Now, with the towns and cities empty, no one will be able to stop the invaders’ brutal assault on the survivors. That is, no one except for Ranger Martin and a group of young tagalongs eager to once again reclaim the globe as their home. Together, they fight the elements, kill alien and zombie alike, and liberate the weak from their military oppressors. But will Ranger have enough time to defeat another wave of silver ships screaming toward Earth before it delivers its fatal payload? Or will he succumb to the whims of a sadistic, power-hungry general obsessed with eliminating anyone threatening his plans?”

About Jack Flacco

Jack Flacco on Tripghroughmymind.comJack Flacco is the author of RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION. His blend of action, suspense and dark humor offers the reader a new perspective on the horror genre. The second book in the Ranger Martin series will publish on October 21.

Flacco and his family live in Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he volunteers his time. Past work includes acting in youth theater outreach for nursing homes, ushering at his church, and getting involved with scouts. Supporting his wife, she served on the leadership council for the local home education network and on the library advisory board responsible for the purchase of new books for children and young adults.

Jack and his wife currently contribute to a wide variety of charitable organizations. Holding dear the importance of universal literacy, they donate books to individual families in need.


Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Books, Children, Reader's Retreat


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Rhyanna’s Reads: The Convention of My Life

Rhyanna Reads Book ReviewsRhyanna’s Read recaps Imaginarium Convention (Louisville, KY)

By Rhyanna

I went to my first ever writer’s convention and I just had the best time ever! I met so many authors that I cannot count. The funniest part was we drove all the way from Missouri to Louisville, Kentucky to meet someone who lives 10 minutes from us.

Armand Rosamilia is one of the authors I met. Can you guess what I did?! I got interviewed by Armand for Armcast Podcast. He was very funny and I had a fun time with him. The thing that made it fun was he was being so silly by joking around. He said he would tell some boys that I love them even though I don’t.

IMG_0303[1]I finally got to meet Jen my favorite author. Her author name is J.L. Mulvihill. Jen has written a lot of books. One of them is The Boxcar Baby, which I reviewed last spring in the year of 2014. Jen Mulvihill spent a lot of time talking to me about writing.

I also met Meaghan Fisher and she loves to write. By 11 years old she was ready to publish a book. Published 21 times in college is a lot and yet again she managed to write 21 books in college. She won a women’s poetry contest and was in a writing group. She loves to write poems.

I met Jackie Gamber and she is writing a series called The Leland Dragon Series. I have read book one, Redheart and I have a review coming soon. I will soon read book two Sela. Redheart was so exciting with the surprise at the end.

I went to a panel. A panel is a place where you go in and hear about a special topic and at the end you get to ask questions about the topic. My first panel was with Jen and Meaghan. My first panel was about young readers and how they like to write.

I left with 4 books. I got a book that came with another book about all the characters. The last book my dad got me.

On Saturday night at 10:00 I went to the masquerade ball and I would have signed up for the contest but I did not know when it was. I was in a red and black dress that was a little puffy and, black purse, a ring, and a black top hat that had feathers on them. I was supposed to be a famous countess.

I had the best time ever because I met new people and I got some interesting new books. It was so wonderful. I want to go to the next convention! I can’t wait for the next event.

Imaginarium Con 2014

About the Author

Rhyanna is a wonderfully intelligent young reader, who immerses herself in almost anything she can get her hands on to read. She also aspires to become an author herself and is working on many short stories and “chapter” books hoping the stories will be published someday. Nothing really out of the norm, right? Well, I failed to mention that Rhyanna is nine-years-old and has been working her way through libraries, book stores, and my book shelves. Yes, this writer-in-the-making is my daughter, who some of you may remember as the focus of quite a few articles here.



Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Books, Children, Rhyanna's Reads, Writing


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Rhyanna’s Read- M.R. Tufo’s Dystance: Winter’s Rising

Rhyanna Reads Book Reviews

It is time to turn it over once again to Rhyanna for her special feature.

Hi! My name Rhyanna. I want to tell you about my interest. I love to read and write. If you love to read you might want to read the book in the next couple paragraphs…

Dystance: Winter’s Rising by M.R. Tufo

The book Dystance: Winter’s Rising is a wonderful book about a girl named Winter. M.R. Tufo (the author) was a great and creative author who did a terrific job on the book that I will tell you about. The book thrilled me even more than some of my favorite action series. This book was very descriptive on how the character acts like. Winter was a very interesting character.

Winter, my favorite character, went to war and she dreamed about her and her friend Tallow having freedom. If she found freedom, would she go back and lead her friends to freedom or would she turn away from them? She is a loyal friend who would do almost anything for someone she cared about. She would be a wonderful friend to have. Do you think that maybe you would want to save your friends and risk the chance of dying or go to freedom where you could do anything you wanted to do?

My favorite character is Winter because she is persistent about trying new things. She wants freedom and even though they are not supposed to, they love each other. Tallow (the one she loves but is not supposed to) is a close friend and such a powerful thing as friendship turned into love. They will be friends until they end no matter how much they are fighting with each other, Tallow is as much a loyal friend as Winter is.

M.R. Tufo DystanceI suggest this book to kids (and adults) who would like to read about a cool mind pulling, heartwarming book about war and fighting to survive and for freedom. If you think you are interested, check out Dystance: Winter’s Rising by M. R. Tufo.

In addition to the review, Rhyanna had the opportunity to ask author M.R. Tufo some questions.

Rhyanna’s Reads: What made you want to write a young adult book?

M.R. Tufo: I wrote a YA book because I love YA books, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Insurgent, those are just a few, it’s really as simple as that, I wanted to see if I could bring the kind of happiness I get from reading to a younger crowd.

RR: When did you decide you wanted to be an author?

MRT: This one is a little tricky, I’ve always enjoyed writing but never thought to be an author. I guess maybe it hit me around the second or third Zombie Fallout book when people were actually enjoying the series and wanted to know when the next installment was coming out. At that point I was like hmmm maybe I would like to do this as a career.

RR: Did you name a character after someone you know?

MRT: A fair number of my characters are named after or are modeled after people from my life, on hindsight I wished I had changed some of them but its a little late now .

RR: Did you like to read when you were a child?

MRT: Reading was everything to me, my mom used to take me to the library every week. I used to have a hard time figuring out how to stay under my 4 allotted books maximum. I always had a stack I wanted to read for that week. Thank you for the questions Rhyanna!

Until next time…


Posted by on September 26, 2014 in Books, Review, Rhyanna's Reads


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Reader’s Retreat: 4 Questions for Jackie Gamber and H.David Blalock Round 3

Gamber and Blalock Blog Tour

Blog Tour Time! Oh wait, was I shouting in my excitement? I can’t help it. Today , I am happy to be a part of a ‘Round Robin’ tour from two authors I have the upmost respect. Yes, that is TWO authors on the guest list today. Author Jackie Gamber and H. David Blalock. Since I am the third stop on this series of questions, you might want to see what questions have already been answered (and I hope you do), please visit these two sites and get up to speed. The first stop was The Rage Circus Vs The Soulless Void and the second was The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies. Don’t worry, we will wait for you…Are you back? Ok, now that you have seen the first eight questions, let’s take a look at our first guest tonight, Jackie Gamber and a synopsis of Redheart.

Jackie Gamber RedheartJackie Gamber’s Redheart Book Synopsis:

Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side. Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land.

As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship. Riza Diantus is a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village, and when she finds herself in peril, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. Yet to do so means he must confront his past, and embrace a future he stopped believing in.

A tale of friendship, courage, and ultimate destiny, Redheart invites readers to a wondrous journey through the Leland Dragon Series.


TTMMAre you a planner/organizer when you write or a seat-of-your-pants writer?

Jackie Gamber: When it comes to writing, I’m a sort of hybrid. I have a general plan of where I’m going, what I want the ending to be, some plot twists that need to make it happen – then I let ‘er rip. I often surprise myself, and sometimes I follow a conversation or action that, in the end, just doesn’t work and can’t be used (“delete” is a painful process), but I like to follow my storytelling instincts to uncover things I wouldn’t find any other way.

TTMM: Are there specific character traits you find yourself giving your characters and what are they?

JG: I imbue characters with traits that make sense to their own personal journeys. My “bad guy” needs realistic motives and process, just as my protagonist and other characters. If I have patterns in my stories (I think most writers do), I don’t put them in consciously.

TTMMDo your characters speak to you and do you lead them or do they lead you?

JG: My characters often speak to me! Stories, for me, develop with tiny flashes; of a scene, a line of dialogue, a face. When it sticks, it’s because a character begins to surface, with a story to tell. I used to wonder if I had some shadow of schizophrenia–eh, I’ll be honest; I still do wonder. But I care less now about the why of this weird process, and more about how to honor it, and the story that comes from it.

TTMMIf you could sit and have dinner and convo with any writer from any time who would you meet?

JG: Ray Bradbury. I’ve admired the man’s work since I was a teenager; he was one of my biggest inspirations. The more I discovered him as a person, through media interviews and things, the more I admired him. He loved books, he loved libraries, like me. He was a dreamer, and a do-er. I sometimes drafted emails in my mind, introducing myself, assuring him I’m not a psychopath, and inviting him to lunch. I never scraped together the courage to actually do it.

Amazon Links for Redheart, the First Book of Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series:

Kindle Version:
Print Version:

Now on to our second guest, H. David Blalock as he answers four questions (actually the same four. We have to be consistent here). But, before we get into the questions. Let’s learn a little about Angelkiller.

BlalockBookOne_AngelkillerCoverH. David Blalock’s Angelkiller Book Synopsis:

Why do bad things happen to good people? Simple. In the ancient war between the Angels of Light and Darkness, the Dark won. Now it is the job of an undercover force simply known as The Army to rectify that.

Using every tool available, The Army has worked to liberate our world from The Enemy for thousands of years, slowly and painfully lifting Mankind out of the dark. On the front of the great Conflict are the Angelkillers, veterans of the fight with centuries of experience.

Jonah Mason is an Angelkiller, and his cell is targeted as part of plot to unseat a very powerful Minion of The Enemy. Mason and his troop are drawn into a battle that stretches from real-time to virtual reality and back. The Conflict is about to expand into cyberspace, and if Mason is unable to stop it, The Enemy will have gained dominion over yet another realm

TTMM: Are you a planner/organizer when you write or a seat-of-your-pants writer?

I much prefer to organize and sometimes outline my writing projects. It does wonders in avoiding writer’s block. It also makes it easier to meet deadlines, provide proposals to editors, and generally facilitates the process.

TTMM: Are there specific character traits you find yourself giving your characters and what are they?

The characters get the traits they need for the story. I don’t believe I have any one set of characteristics assigned to multiple characters, although I suppose there has to be a similarity between them since they are all the product of a single mind. I make an effort to give each character something unique depending on their importance to the plot. The main characters need the most development, of course, but secondary characters deserve something to identify them from the furniture in the background.

TTMM: Do your characters speak to you and do you lead them or do they lead you?

Early on, my characters tended to wander away and do their own thing. As I grew as a writer, I learned to herd them in the proper direction. Finally, it became clear that those characters who strayed from the plot too often or too far became very mortal. I haven’t had much trouble since.

TTMM: If you could sit and have dinner and convo with any writer from any time who would you meet?

Undoubtedly, Heinlein. It was his work that first inspired me to write and I never lost my fascination with his writing. Although his later work suffered a bit because of his failing health, I still maintain he was one of the greatest writers ever.

Amazon Links for Angelkiller, the First Book of H. David Blalock’s Angelkiller Triad:

Kindle Version:
Print Version:

Want More? Check out other great sites on the Blog Tour. 

9/8 SpecMusicMuse Review
9/8 The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void Multi-Blogger Interview Part 1
9/8 Horror Tree Guest Post (Blalock)
9/8 Elizabeth Delana Rosa ~Book Lover & Creator of Worlds~  Guest Post (Gamber)
9/9 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (About Gamber)
9/9 I Smell Sheep Interactive Thread with Jackie and Dave
9/9 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post (Blalock)
9/10 The Southern Belle from Hell Art of the Angelkiller Triad (Blalock)
9/10 Bee’s Knees Review Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 Blog of Sheila Deeth Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies Multi-Blogger Interview Part 2
9/10 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More Jackie Gamber Interviews H. David Blalock
9/11 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More H. David Blalock Interviews Jackie Gamber
9/11 Workaday Reads Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Vampires, Witches, & Me, Oh My! Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Trip Through My Mind Multi-Blogger Interview Part 3
9/12 Beauty In Ruins Guest Post (Blalock)
9/13 Jess Resides Here Review
9/14 Willow’s Author Love Guest Post (Blalock)
9/14 Fantastical Musings Multi-Blogger Interview Part 4
9/14 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (Gamber)

Time to Learn More About Our Guest

JackieGamberBWAbout Jackie Gamber:  As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.



Twitter: @jackiegamber


HDavidBlalockBWAbout H. David Blalock:  Born in San Antonio, Texas, David spent the majority of his formative years in Jacksonville, Florida. At the age of 16, his family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where David finished school and entered employment with the Department of Defense as a Powerhouse Electrician.

Hiring into the FAA, he returned with his wife and two daughters to the States and settled briefly in Gulfport, MS. A few years later, he moved to Memphis, TN, as an Air Traffic Controller for the Memphis ARTCC. There he remained until his retirement.

David’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, webzines, and writer’s sites. His work continues to appear on a regular basis through multiple publishing houses.



Twitter:  @Hdavidblalock

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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Books, Fiction, Reader's Retreat


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Trip Into Imaginarium: #TeamErotica is Hitting The Imaginarium

Paranormal, erotic and horror—oh my! As we draw closer to Imaginarium in Louisville, KY September 19-21st, the excitement for all things Imaginarium is ratcheted up a few notches.  We have heard from both S.H. Roddy and Stephen Zimmer about Imaginarium—the vision and the planning which have gone into this cool event to bring the writing community and readers together. Now, it is time to hear from one of Imaginarium’s panelist.  An author of romance stories regarding the paranormal and erotic, she has also written horror.  Her credits include novels, novellas, and short stories and she is here to spice some things up. So without further adieu please welcome Alexandra Christian.

#TeamErotica is Hitting The Imaginarium

By Alexandra Christian

That’s right, it’s me, your favorite convention party girl, Alexandra Christian!  I’m taking over Benns’ blog today to tell you about the most fun you can have at The Imaginarium with your clothes on!

The idea for Imaginarium was to bring writers and readers together for pro-tips, education, networking and most —importantly—FUN.  Part of the track this year will be devoted to romance of all types:  paranormal, contemporary, sweet, thriller and yes, erotic.  With that in mind, I wanted to get the word out today about a little panel I like to call “Make Me Scream.”  It’s an after-hours, 18 and up panel that will feature some of the best romance authors in the biz.  We’ll be talking about the best ways to insert a little steam into your love scenes which will leave your readers panting and begging for mercy.  Twice.  We’ll also talk a bit about trends in the genres, why Fifty Shades of Gray is an awful book and how readers can use their favorite books to enhance their own sex lives.

I was approached by the folks running The Imaginarium a while back about doing a really fun, VERY adult panel which would highlight the erotic romance authors who were attending.  So I got together with some of the others who I thought might be on the panel with me and we talked about some of the things we felt were really important to address.  This is only a partial list:

  • Why Fifty Shades is a horrible book.
  • Where can good girls get naughty books?
  • How to write erotica, not pornography.
  • Muses and how to use them effectively.
  • Sex toys.
  • “Erotic Romance Author” does not mean “I want you to send me pictures of your penis on Facebook.”
  • Keeping a sassy/ classy image i.e. –Not sucking on riding crops in public.

Now kids, this is only fun if we have instigators.  So—the object of the game is STANDING ROOM ONLY at the midnight sex panel.  How are we going to accomplish such a lofty goal, you ask?  I’m glad you asked.  #TeamErotica is going to strike again!  If you went to ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC this summer, then you’re probably familiar with the MASSIVE naughty erotica panel.  Seriously, I think we drained a George R. R. Martin kegger party.  The way this works is—several authors, publishers and artists donate their wares and swag, the gals at #TeamErotica fill in with all sorts of naughty treats (chocolate, coffee, sex toys, smell good stuffs, the largest rainbow penis lollipop I’ve ever seen) and make a couple of nice pretty baskets.  During the week, if you visit our tables or see us on panels, we’ll be giving out raffle tickets for a chance to win the MASSIVE baskets o’ fun.  Here’s the catch:  you MUST be present at the MIDNIGHT “Make Me Scream” erotica panel on Saturday night in order to win.  But I promise, the whole process will be virtually painless.  We give good panel and you may even find a kernel of wisdom buried deep… deep… DEEP within.

About Alexandra

Lexxx ChristianAlexandra has been making trouble in the literary world since 2010 with her debut novel, Hellsong.  She’s an author of mostly paranormal erotic romance and horror. In case you don’t know what that means, she writes about not-so-nice girls getting it on with out-of this-world heroes. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, angels and demons– but no dinosaurs.

Lexxx is a self-proclaimed “Southern Belle from Hell.” She’s a native South Carolinian who lives with an epileptic wiener dog and her pet ghost hunter and author, Tally Johnson. She’s published several novels, novellas and short stories with Ellora’s Cave, Purple Sword Publications, Mocha Memoirs Press and most recently, Seventh Star Press. In fact, her next novel is the kickoff to Seventh Star’s new romance imprint, Seventh Starlight.  Alexandra’s long-term aspirations are to one day be a bestselling authoress and part-time pinup girl. Questions, comments and complaints are most welcome at her website:


Imaginarium Con 2014

September 19-21, 2014
Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky

Imaginarium 2014 is a three-day creative writing convention and book fair suitable for attendees of all ages! With over 140 panels spread across twelve programming tracks, after-hours events, and a full vendor hall, it’s the place where ideas transcend imagination, where authors and readers can come together, and where new writers can learn tricks of the trade from more than 130 of today’s best independent publishing professionals. In addition to the literary programming, Imaginarium also features world-class workshops, an art show, film festival, gaming room, and more.



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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Adult, Fiction, Trip Into Imagineering, Writing


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